I took this picture last night after finishing painting the bedroom. I didn’t intend to finish painting it all, but I can get obsessive. And it didn’t take long, only about an hour.
When I started painting, I pushed the dresser, where I keep my clothes and the open shelf where Jon’s clothes are, together, facing each other, in the center of the room. The Victorian mirror, on my dresser, is discolored with age.
I think it gives the photo the feeling of looking back in time. Or maybe just into another time.
Before leaving my studio tonight I made curtains for the windows in the bedroom, by simply cutting a scarf in half and sewing a hem on the cut edge. The top piece of the curtain is a scarf my friend Athena gave me. The bottom is a scarf that Linda sent in a box of fabric.
There are still pictures to hang on the wall. And Ray is coming tomorrow to fix the broken headboard on the bed. But every day, I’m getting closer to making the bedroom into the loving and cozy room I envisioned.
At first Fate walked behind me in the footprints of my snowshoes, but then she took off on her own, hopping through the snow. We went to the waterfall where I could hear it, but not see it. It was completely buried in snow. Then we visited the big old Shag Bark Hickory on the edge of the property line.
That’s where I got this picture of Fate, snow on her nose and all.
“Hypothermia!?”, I repeated the word dismissively, looking at Jon like he was crazy.
“Yes” he said calmly, “If you look at the symptoms, you had them all.”
I was annoyed that he even brought the idea up. People got hypothermia when they were lost in the woods for days and then they either died or were saved by getting naked and warming their body against another naked person.
It wasn’t something that happened to someone in their backyard, a hundred feet from their house, while they were shoveling.
But I had been irritable and annoyed by everything Jon said and did since the day before. On Sunday, when I was painting our bedroom and Jon was helping, I had no patience for him, and I was letting him know about it. He even wrote about it on his blog, trying to figure out what was going on.
But I wasn’t just annoyed with Jon.
I was second guessing every decision I made. I was sure I chose the wrong colors for the bedroom. The “On Being” interview I was listening to, which I usually find hopeful and thought provoking, was upsetting. Even listening to Krishna Das (my go to grounding music), was getting on my nerves.
I couldn’t focus, was confused and anxious. And I couldn’t get warm.
In the evening I tried to take a bath and half the hot water ran down the slipped drain-stop before I noticed. So the water was only lukewarm. It only made me colder. Afterwards, I was exhausted and lay on the couch staring into space and dozing.
Jon read me the symptoms of hypothermia. He even talked to his nurse practitioner earlier that morning during his physical. And for a moment, what he said made sense to me.
“It alters your body and usually takes a day or two to feel normal again”, Jon told me. “It’s like having low blood sugar, when it’s happening you have no idea what’s going on, because it makes you confused and you can’t think rationally.”
Yesterday I still had my guard up. I didn’t trust Jon, how could I? I didn’t even trust myself.
But this morning I can see it clearly.
It really does make sense that I had a mild form of Hypothermia. Which is different from the kind you die from. The only kind I had ever heard about.
And honestly, there’s some ego involved in my not wanting to admit that I might have been so affected by the cold.
I kept thinking about the time, I went cross county skiing, under a full moon, when it was zero degrees out. Or how I used to work outside, or in unheated houses and never have a problem with the cold.
I was seeing my having hypothermia as a weakness.
Today I see it as reason for what I was feeling the past couple of days. And I appreciate knowing that it’s what happened to me. Because otherwise, I couldn’t explain it except to say that I went a little crazy. And not a fun or harmless crazy, but a mean crazy.
Jon could have reacted differently to the past two days with me. He could have gotten angry and been mean back to me. But he could see something wasn’t right. He could see clearly when I couldn’t.
It still makes me a little uncomfortable to think that Jon cares so much about me. It makes me feel vulnerable, which feels dangerous to me. I’m seeing that I more comfortable being emotionally vulnerable around Jon than physically vulnerable. That’s something I’ll have to think more about.
It’s cold outside again, the temperature below zero.
But the sun is shining and I’m going a little stir crazy from being in the house so much.This afternoon I’ll take a snowshoe walk in the woods with Fate. I’ll bundle up in layers of warm clothes and pay extra attention to how I’m feeling. It’ll be a short walk, I’ll try to embrace my physical vulnerabilities, I won’t let my ego get in the way.
“How about making a sign for my class at The Mansion today,” I said to Jon. “I’ll make the letters and whoever shows up at the class can color them in. It can say Welcome Home for when the rest of the residents can come back to the Mansion.”
It was 3am. I had just come back upstairs to bed from putting logs in the woodstoves and going to the bathroom.
Jon was as awake as I was.
As many of you, who read Jon’s blog, already know, many of the people who live at The Mansion Assisted Living Facility had to leave due to water damage to the building. Some of them went to stay with family and others have moved to the Danforth Adult Care Center until the damage is repaired.
It’s been hard on everyone, their routines and lives uprooted. Julie, the activities director and the Aides go back and forth between the two facilities, trying to bring a sense of normalcy to a situation that is disruptive and disturbing to everyone.
“Why not have it say We Miss You”. Jon suggested, “Then I can bring it to the Danforth.”
I liked that idea, they could hang the sign in the room at the Danforth, where the residents from The Mansion have meals and do activities.
So I brought two signs to The Mansion this afternoon. One with “We Miss You” written on it the other said “Come Home Soon”.
Jon knew there would be few people in the class, so he came with me to see how he could help.
There are only about eight residents currently living at the Mansion, so when Madeline and Wayne showed up I was glad to have them both there.
Madeline wore out a pink marker coloring in the word “Miss”. Wayne watched us all and visited with Red and Ruth came and went, but didn’t want to color the letters.
“This is hard” Jon complained as he colored in the letters. Julie and I looked at him in disbelief, but Madeline said that of course it was hard for him because , “boys don’t color”. It seems Madeline was right, about Jon anyway.
When we were done, we all signed our names on the board and Julie who was going to the Danforth as we were leaving, said she’d bring them over.
Hopefully the signs be a little reminder to the Mansion Residents living at the Danforth, that the Mansion is being repaired and eventually they will be going home.